The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) inched closer to revive their broken alliance, by agreeing to fine-tune a proposed legislation aimed at reintroducing the local government system in Sindh.
Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad met Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday and officials from both sides said the MQM’s rejoining of both federal and provincial government was just a ‘matter of time now’.
The meeting between the governor and the premier took place on the heels of Ibad’s marathon interaction with President Asif Ali Zardari overnight in which both decided to continue cooperation.
A one-line statement issued by the premier’s media office late in the night said both leaders had agreed to continue the policy of reconciliation. It did not give any specific details.
There were reports that Ibad, who extended his stay in Islamabad to have another round of talks with Zardari, would have meeting with the president after he returned from a one-day trip from Bahrain.
But the meeting did not take place till midnight.
Though MQM leadership declined to offer any official word on the details of new power-sharing deal, insiders said a decision to rejoin the government might be announced within next 48 hours.
But there could be a delay if things could not be finalised.
In his overnight meeting with Zardari, both parties reportedly decided to accommodate each other’s concerns by brining amendments in the 2001 local government system.
PPP’s Sindh chapter wants to bring amendments in the LG system which was once again enacted few days back on the demand of MQM replacing the 1979 local government system the provincial assembly had passed after MQM quitted the government in June for the third time during the present PPP regime.
“PPP local chapter does not want inclusion of Babar Awan in this committee. It also wants to minimize role of Rehman Malik in the affairs of Sindh. We have to work out necessary amendments before the legislation is put before the provincial legislature” a PPP leader who attended the meeting had then told The Express Tribune.
The meeting also discussed the empowerment of law enforcement agencies to deal with the security situation in the province.
The MQM had been demanding the slot of Sindh home ministry besides assurances to accommodate it fully in the proposed delimitations before the next general elections.
Within the PPP there is strong resentment on the role played Babar Awan before the MQM agreed to re-join the government.
The Sindh chapter of the PPP believes that Awan over-stepped his mandate and succumbed before MQM.
They complained that while negotiating the deal on behalf of President Zardari, he had ignored the PPP’s interests that had celebrated scrapping of 2001 Nazim based local government system and reverted back to 1979 system.
Similarly, there is a strong resentment in the ruling party over “constant interference” of interior minister Rehman Malik in Sindh affairs.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.